MYTHS AND TRUTHS ABOUT BREASTFEEDING

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“Mother’s milk is the best for the baby”- it is a common slogan that is reminded to new parents by different baby food companies. Breastfeeding is one of the most important steps for both the mum and the baby. It would become the only source of nutrients for the baby for the first six months.

However, when a woman is pregnant, she might hear a lot of stories and old-wives’-tales about breastfeeding. And this article just might help debunk a few of them.

MYTH: Formula is as good as breastmilk.

FACT: There are some things one just can’t make in a factory. The milk is custom-made for your baby, and it changes to meet the baby’s needs through every stage of development. The milk has antibodies, anti-viruses, and anti-allergens that help protect baby from illness. These important ingredients are not in formula. The milk also has hormones that help the baby grow. Breastmilk has more vitamins and minerals than formula and the babies digest it easily. Plus, breastmilk is free, fresh, and safe for baby to drink anytime, anywhere.

MYTH: New moms don’t make enough milk.

FACT: It’s true that women don’t produce milk for three to five days after giving birth, but they do make a thick, concentrated liquid called colostrum—and for the first few days, that’s all a newborn needs, Mason says. “Moms worry that they’re not producing enough right away, but it’s very normal for the baby to nurse and not take more than two teaspoons at a time.”

MYTH: If you cannot breastfeed, your baby would not be healthy.

FACT: If a mother isn’t able to breastfeed her baby—or she decides not to—she can rest easy knowing that the beneficial effects of breast milk on babies’ weight and intelligence appear to have been overstated. A 2014 Ohio State University study looked at families in which one baby was breastfed and another was fed formula and found no “breast-is-best” advantage in one child over the other. Though it is said breast milk has one clear advantage over formula: It contains antibodies that protect baby from infection.

MYTH: Breastfeeding is easy.

FACT: While most women should be able to breastfeed their newborns, it’s not always easy: In a 2013 survey published in Pediatrics, 92% of new moms had at least one concern on their third day of breastfeeding—such as the baby not latching properly, low milk supply, or breast pain—and only 13% breastfeed exclusively for six months as is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

MYTH: Staying hydrated doesn’t have any correlation with breastmilk quantity.

FACT: Not drinking enough water can certainly affect how much milk you’re making which is why it’s important to stay hydrated (among other reasons). But one doesn’t have to go overboard. A new mum does not have to drink until it’s coming out of your ears; in fact, research suggests that overhydration can also decrease milk production, just as dehydration can. Judge the hydration levels by your urine colour, she recommends: light yellow means it is enough, dark means one should sip more.

MYTH: Breastfeeding will make breasts sag.

FACT: Breastfeeding doesn’t cause the breasts to sag, but the ageing process as well as suddenly losing or gaining weight can have an effect, as the weight gain happens during pregnancy. In addition, pregnancy, not breastfeeding, also alters the shape of a woman’s breasts and nipples. However, it is important to wear a good bra to support breasts that are heavy with milk.